Navigating Wellness and Recovery for Athletes with Rob Blanc

Navigating Wellness and Recovery for Athletes with Rob Blanc

You're a pitcher, and you're giving it your all. You're throwing everything at them.

But something's off. You can't quite get that perfect pitch, and the pressure is starting to build.

You feel like you're stuck in a rut, like there's something you're just not getting. But what if there was a secret weapon? A hidden blueprint inside you, just waiting to be unlocked?

We embark on this journey with Rob Blanc, a former professional baseball player and now a renowned coach.

Beyond the Mechanics

Forget the endless drills and technical jargon. Rob challenges the traditional one-size-fits-all approach, advocating for understanding the individual athlete's "blueprint." 

This goes beyond just mechanics; it’s about their physiology, psychology, and even past experiences that shape movement patterns. 

Rob shares his own story of chasing the "perfect" pitching mechanics, only to discover that his greatest strength lies in embracing his unique biomechanics. 

Rob emphasizes that chasing perfect form is a futile endeavor, as each athlete has their own inherent biases and strengths. The key lies in identifying and working with these biases, not against them.

He also raises an essential point about the challenge of remote training—how it doesn't always cater to athletes' diverse needs. He advocates for a thorough intake process, seeking subjective feedback to understand an athlete's expectations, desired frequency of feedback, and internal or external focus. This personalized approach allows him to align with athletes who match his coaching style, acknowledging that not everyone will be the right fit.

"And if you need more feedback, I'm going to refer you out to somebody else who can give you that feedback and get you what you need. Because at the end of the day, if I'm not always the best person to help you, I want to put you in the best situation to succeed."

The Power of Feedback (and the Pitfalls)

Feedback, the lifeblood of any coaching relationship, can be a double-edged sword. 

Rob emphasizes the importance of individualized feedback tailored to each athlete's learning style and needs. 

Bombarding them with technical jargon can be counterproductive, leading to paralysis by analysis. Instead, he advocates for targeted questions that spark self-awareness and empower the athlete to take ownership of their progress.

"When I started coaching, I'd see an athlete move a certain way and think I knew what they needed to fix based on my knowledge. But explaining it that way often overloaded them. It's like when I post in-depth content on social media – it's not how I'd explain things to an athlete. I simplify for the masses, then adapt when they ask for more specific advice. If I tell an athlete too much detail like, 'You need to focus on XYZ because you're hip internal orientation dominant,' it becomes a mess. They start overthinking each move, and now I've kind of shot myself in the foot and shot him in the foot just because I got excited and I over-explained."

Understanding Root Problems in Athletic Movement: Context Over Conversation

Rob dives into the complexity of identifying and addressing issues in athletic movement, emphasizing the importance of context over mere conversations or cues. He highlights the necessity of comprehensive context to truly understand and solve the root problem rather than merely addressing symptoms.

In his explanation, Rob emphasizes that understanding an athlete's physiological tendencies, their external or internal focus, and the context surrounding their movement patterns is crucial. He points out the interconnectedness of various aspects such as physiology, data, metrics, and strength conditioning in the athletic realm.

He now advocates for a healthy balance, encouraging athletes to focus on the external feel and feedback of their movements, rather than getting caught up in the mechanics. This shift allows for a more intuitive and spontaneous approach, unlocking the athlete's natural talent.

"If I can't change my perspective and see how those connect to one another, I'm not seeing the bigger picture."

Building the Blueprint

The journey to unlocking the athlete's blueprint is a collaborative effort. Rob emphasizes the importance of open communication and trust between coach and athlete. By understanding each other's perspectives, goals, and limitations, they can build a training plan that is not just effective, but also sustainable and enjoyable.

Navigating wellness and recovery for athletes is not just about physical conditioning; it's about unlocking their full potential. By understanding the individual blueprint, providing personalized feedback, and fostering a collaborative environment, coaches and athletes can embark on a journey to peak performance, while staying injury-free and in love with the game. 

So, the next time you see an athlete struggling, remember, the answer might not lie in the latest drills or fancy equipment, but within their own unique blueprint, waiting to be discovered.

Are you an athlete or coach looking to unlock your full potential in how you coach your clients? Listen to the full episode of VeloUnlocked w/ Dr. Nick Serio.